Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beep bloody beep

I appreciate I've only been driving for a few months. But is it just me, or do people agree that the hooter, or horn, as it's known in the USA, is overused?

According to the stuff I learnt for my theory test, and my instructor, the hooter is there to alert fellow drivers of a potential hazard, for example: 'You stupid eejit, you're about to back into my car!'

Similarly, I can completely understand someone using their hooter to alert the guy in front of them who is sat at a green light rolling a joint, that it is indeed time for him to go. What I don't understand however, is why the person behind you, and the one behind that person, and indeed the 5 or 10 people behind that person, also feel the need to chime in on their hooters.

One is enough people. Unless the guy is severely hard of hearing, chances are he heard the first toot. What's the point of everyone else sitting on their hooters too? I think it's just a juvenile way of saying, 'Yeah, and I'm pissed off too. So move your car already!' Yes, because that's really going to help the situation. What it does amount to is a useless cacophony of noise pollution, perpetuated by a bunch of like minded fools.

The reason this is an increasingly annoying issue for me, is that the street that passes our house can be fairly busy. And you won't believe how many times you get the multiple hooter thing going on. I put it down to pregnancy hormones, but there are times I want to sit at our top floor window and drop heavy things onto their cars as a means of shutting them up. Yes, I realise this is illegal, dangerous and all that. But when you are trying to get some sleep and you have 10 people who feel this compulsive need to show how pissed they are by sitting with their hand continuously pressed down on the hooter, well, let's just say you can get pretty imaginative in how you'd like to shut them up.

Similarly, yep, I'm on a roll here, are the people who walk past your home at, I don't know, 11.30pm, midnight? making a huge noise. Laughing, singing, shouting at each other (their appears to be a direct correlation between amount of alcohol consumed and hearing levels), and carrying on like they are in a lunatic asylum. Does it ever cross their minds, just once perhaps, that maybe there are people living in those houses they are passing? People who are perhaps trying to get some sleep, trying to get a baby down for the evening, or even just trying to have a conversation? In our old place, our block of flats sat alongside offices, shops, a hotel, a couple of restaurants and a pub, so I can sort of see why people neglected to appreciate there were residents in the area. But our new street is a row of houses - so I don't think there is any excuse.

Anyway, clearly I'm getting old, grumpy, or both. I just have such an aversion to noise since getting pregnant. Cravings, not really, things that piss me off - plenty. I'm hoping the yoga will help .


Giles said...

I'm reminded of this Onion story from yesterday:

DOT reports - tired of traffic? Honk!

letters from london said...

lol! Thanks Giles. How appropriate.

Jonathan Hartley said...

Hey L!
As those who know me can attest, I'm often tempted by the anti-establishment point of view. With regard to people laughing and shouting on the street, does your desire for silence automatically trump their desire for horseplay? I don't see that it should. If they are making normal progress down the street (ie not camped outside your house), and aren't playing amplified music or using loud-hailers, my instinct is to side with the guffaws.

Surely the harm done to society is greater if everyone has to meekly restrain their conversations and revelry for fear of invoking the wrath of anyone who might be in earshot, rather than simply put up with listening to happy drunken teenagers walking by their house every so often.

Am I way off base? It has been known.

The honking drivers are just being idiots though, I'm right with you on that. :-)

letters from london said...

Hey JB, I hear what you're saying and in principle I agree with you.

However, the case I'm trying to make is that it's not so much the passing noise of human traffic I have a problem with, as much as the time at which it occurs.

I think making a loud ruckus outside someone's home close to midnight or later is inconsiderate. During the day or even up to around 11pm - no problem - fair play. But later than that and it starts to infringe on the people who live in the area who surely are also entitled to a bit of peace and quiet at least part of the day?

Also, all of this is very easy to discuss and be rational about when you are not ill, knackered, and trying to get some well needed sleep with someone outside repeatedly shouting: "Joshua, Joshua - you wanker. Did you steal all the beers!?! whaahahahahahaha!"